2013-03-22 05:30 AM
The first and second tests both ended in rain-affected draws but the forecast for Auckland is for five days of clear weather, raising the possibility of a result which will decide the three-test series.
England made one change to its lineup for the match, naming Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow to play his sixth test as a replacement for Kevin Pietersen who has a knee injury.
New Zealand named an unchanged lineup and both teams elected to go into the match with three specialist seamers and one spinner.
In deciding to bowl first, Cook followed the policy of his New Zealand opposite Brendon McCullum who bowled on winning the toss in the first two tests.
"We think it looks a good wicket but there is a tinge of green in there and these wickets we've played on all summer here have tended to get better as the game's gone on," Cook said. "Hopefully the first session or so we can make use of it.
"Obviously with KP (Pietersen) missing out, Jonny Bairstow comes in but with the three seamers and a spinner it seems like we've got a good balance. We've just got to make sure we put the balls in the right areas this morning."
McCullum would have bowled again had he won the toss.
"It's going to be a test," McCullum said. "Obviously we would have bowled first but if it does happen to slow up as the games goes on we've still got some good options there with (spinner) Bruce Martin.
"It's a good test for our batting lineup but I think we've coped pretty well so far in this series and today's going to be a real judgement day for us.
"We've gone with the same team which is a luxury we haven't had for a long time. We've played the same team in all three test matches which is testament to how well the guys have gone."
New Zealand: Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), B.J. Watling, Tim Southee, Bruce Martin, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.
Umpires: Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker, Australia.
TV Umpire: Steve Davis, Australia. Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama, Sri Lanka.